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Science Reading

The Science Essayist is an interesting assortment of essays for readers interested in meditative writings on science related matters.  The blog's author is Meera Lee Sethi, who began as a volunteer bird taxidermist at Chicago's Field Museum.  The Science Essayist is her old blog with an archive containing many writings.   

Her current blog is being sponsored by Newwork.  The blog itself is called Dispersal Range .


Notes from the diary of a solitary bird photographer 

Besides being a photographer, Nitoo Das, the creator of this diary, is a poet and sketch artist. 

Her work is always worth careful attention.

To connect to this particular work, click here - Notes from the diary of a solitary bird photographer .


Inextinguishable Fires: On Dalit Writing by Shanta Gokhale

This link was given to me by Nabina Das, poet and novelist.  The article is from Caravan Magazine: A Journal of Politics & Culture.  Its full title (and the link to the complete article) is Inextinguishable Fires: Looking back on half a century of Marathi Dalit writing


A prayer, but not to God

Like a piece of quartz
banged against a harder stone
to make sparks, a word

can make sparks too, starting

(in one
of a solitary moment's
many wildernesses)

a grassfire that, quickly growing
out of control, attacks

nearby towns and cities.  In the end, so many
burnt structures — supermarkets, baseball stadiums,
mosques, friendship's museums  — lie
in its wake, deep

in the soul.
The wreckage seems endless, with children
kneeling in the ashes, scraping down
into the dirt, searching

a clue that makes sense.  I'm there, too, with them

digging digging

chicken bones from old meals
plant roots that anchor trembling stems
edible insects crawling this way and that like Qur'an or bible verses, each with its own meaning, its
                                                                                                                                                    own meat to give
and, holding it all, the dirt itself, its taste, that reminder

of how low we can go
snaking even below the bottom

Getting here is
the acknowledgment

asking forgiveness
the result


six poems published

The Four Quarters Magazine / August Issue 

Six of my poems appear in the current issue of The Four Quarters Magazine.  Click this link to read them.

The  magazine includes a wide variety of other writers also, including Nitoo Das (the guest editor), Arjun  Chaudhuri, Nabina Das, David McKelvie, Monica Mody, Aditi Machado, Mahmood Farooqui, Susan Harris, Michael Creighton, Mridula Koshy, Priya Sarukkai Chabria, Rahul Soni, Akhil Katyal, Aseem Kaul, Arjun Rajendran and others. 

Click here to connect to the magazine's contents page.


The Emergent Academic Proletariat . . .

The Emergent Academic Proletariat and its Shortchanged Students is a penetrating article about higher education's evolution over recemt decades into a for-profit enterprise overseen by business-style managers and a small group of elite (tenured) professors.  Meanwhile, most of higher education's daily operations are run by low-paid staff and low-paid (part-time and/or non-tenure-track) teachers. 


revisiting a favorite artist / sajitha shankar

Below the following graphic are three links to pages pertaining to Sajita Shankar, one of my favorite contemporary artists.  Two of the links provide web access to some of her work.  The third is to an article from the Indian newspaper, The Hindu.  The article concerns not only Shankar's artistic history but also her founding of the Gowry Art Institute on a bank of the Kalhar River in Kerala.  The Institute's purpose is to bring together artists from different disciplines (literature, music, painting and sculpture) to dialogue, create and perform.  Take the time to find out about her.  She is a vital force. 

Archetype Series

Alter Bodies Series

Article on Sajitha Shankar in The Hindu


from "the birth of anti-meaning & salvation of souls"

An Australian aborigine woman, whose child was taken from her by the state because the whites-run state believed the child would be endangered if it remained in an aboriginal habitat, views the white Australian Christian’s respect for “family values” differently than does the Australian Christian.  (Alan Thornhill, “Australian Aborigines Win Apology,” Associated Press in The News Journal, Delaware, 8/27/99, p. A4)  The Jain, whose commitment to nonviolence extends to the point where she/he wears a mouth and nose covering in order to avoid accidentally killing an insect by inhaling it, views a bullfight differently than does a butcher in a Madrid supermarket.  Regardless of our different interpretations of the meaning of a child’s welfare, a white-dominated government, a flying insect or a bullfight, we all see, allowing for minor variations in our sensory systems, the same child, government, insect and bullfight.  That we do not necessarily agree on their role in the larger scheme of things does not alter the fact that we recognize the isness of things out there, beyond ourselves.  Despite our human differences, people more or less mean the same thing when they say in their respective languages ”tree,” stone," “bellybutton,” “corpse.”

Click to read more ...



(Excerpt from What the Bird Tattoo Hides:  The Vijaynagar Notebooks, a collection of poetry and prose written over the last 35+ years and concerning the area, a village near the Maharashtra-Karnataka border, where I stay when on the subcontinent, and also concerning matters pertaining to the west's relationship to India.)

We met her a number of years ago.  Others arranged it.  She knew Dev Raj long before we did, and also Durgatai.  Plus, she knows Apte, the labor lawyer.  Consequently, our get-together in her 3-room home on a dead-end street at the edge of an industrial area began with a certain level of trust.  Still, she was wary.  Being so was part of who she was, a form of political self-protection that was by then habitual.  She'd already been involved in too many underground activities to speak freely to new acquaintances about her various political projects.   Nonetheless she was forthcoming about the general contours of her vision, discussing at one point how from a young age onward she had been pushed forward by "the hunger for a better life that fills India's hutment colonies and tenant-farmer districts."

Click to read more ...


Chomsky on language - speech given July 27, 2013